Entrepreneurs Need To Stop Being Told Fairy Tales

Why I built Teaching Startup around answers instead of success stories

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The worst thing an entrepreneur can do for their startup is to try to mold it to be like another successful startup. Especially when the story of that model startup is sugar-coated and lacking in honest detail.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of learning that any entrepreneur, myself included, can take from other startups and their storied path to ultimate success. But here’s the problem.

There are certain types of startup success stories that either lead potential founders down the wrong path or straight-up intimidate them into thinking that startup is some kind of secret club for the chosen few.

I only have to point to the coverage of companies like WeWork, Theranos, or anything that had to do with digital currency to make my point. Those examples are kind of obvious, but there’s a layer underneath that’s a little more deceptive.

How did you succeed?

There are certain luxuries that can help an entrepreneur find the success they were maybe destined to find anyway: Connections, access to money, and blind luck, to name a few.

But it’s really very hard to honestly answer this question:

“To what do you attribute the massive success of your company?”

With any of these:

“I have a friend at a major corporation who signed off on our first million-dollar sale.”

“I found a loophole and knowingly exploited it at the expense of others.”

“I have a rich uncle.”

“I lied to a lot of people about a lot of things.”

So instead we hear a lot of these answers:

“We worked very hard and failed a lot along the way.”

“We’re on a mission to do what we do.”

“We just wanted to make the world a better place.”

“This business has always been my passion.”

Now, here’s where the deception comes in. All of the second set of answers actually read like viable answers as to why a startup might turn into a successful business. But they’re not. They’re simply the high-level goals as to why any entrepreneur becomes an entrepreneur.

There’s no “how” and “why” or any other attribution to these success stories. The silence on that front is by design, to leave it to the reader to figure out how those entrepreneurs turned those stated goals into actual results. And the implied answer is “I’m special.”

They’re not. Or maybe they are, but that has nothing to do with you.

Now, I have a hypothesis as to what kinds of stories entrepreneurs should be reading instead of startup fairy tales. Those stories are rooted in vision, build, sales, operations, and growth. They explore the “how” and the “why.” And they’re told by people who don’t care if you think they’re special.

So they’re kinda boring, unless you’re into the whole build-and-grow thing.

Those stories are what I built Teaching Startup around. They’re answers for entrepreneurs from people who are trying to solve the same problems you’re trying to solve.

If you think I’m onto something, I encourage you to try Teaching Startup for free for 15 days and use the promo code MYOWNPATH to get your first month after the trial for five bucks. If I’m wrong, you can just cancel and go about your business (pun intended). If I’m right, it’ll open a whole new way to make you an better, smarter entrepreneur.

Written by

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Building Precision Fermentation & Teaching Startup. Sold Automated Insights & ExitEvent. More at joeprocopio.com

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